Meg Fenton ’05 leads children on adventures with Youreka

 

Meg Fenton ’05 leads children on adventures with Youreka

Posted by Student Worker in News Archive 13 Oct 2011

Many college students dream of living abroad after graduation. For Meg Fenton ’05, that dream became a reality when she got a job with a company called Youreka.

Founded in 1996, Youreka was the pioneer adventure-based learning program for children in India, and is still the largest. Research and learning organization iDiscoveri helped create Youreka as a way of educating children in India in a meaningful way. Guides like Fenton work in natural settings to engage children through adventure activities.

“From March to July, I was leading rock climbing and backpacking trips in the southern mountains of Tamil Nadu and in the Himalayas,” Fenton says. “I am currently working as an outdoor educator in Hong Kong — surfing, snorkeling, kayaking, canyoning, climbing and more with the kids.”

Working with Youreka is hardly Fenton’s first global experience — she studied abroad four times as a Centre student and spent a summer working for an NGO in Cameroon. Fenton has plans to journey to Sudan as soon as the country will allow.

“I have had a six-month contract to take pictures for the United Nations mission in Darfur since last October, but with all of the unrest in the Middle East and the separation of the North and South of Sudan, the country has ceased issuing foreign visas,” Fenton says. “I’m still waiting.”

Fenton was getting restless when the opportunity to work at Youreka presented itself.

“I was getting itchy feet again. A friend that I have worked with before was working for Youreka at the office in New Delhi — I had actually found the job for her several months before. She sent me an email that the company was looking for summer leaders, and perhaps I should wait for my visa in India instead,” Fenton says. “Two weeks later, I was on an airplane.”

Even in between leading groups with Youreka, Fenton is still in the midst of adventure in Hong Kong, working for a company called Dragonfly.

“I live in a house with 19 other people with an incredible view of the beach and a protected coral reef,” she says. “When not working on a program, we head out to some epic climbing spots, surf around the islands and climb mountains with the typhoons blowing in from the Pacific. It’s been a wild journey.”

Fenton credits Centre with giving her the knowledge and skills to live abroad.

“There are so many ways in which Centre prepared me for my recent journeys. Studying two languages, anthropology, sociology, psychology and a diversity of other things has helped immensely in my ability to immerse myself, adapt and form relationships wherever I go in the world,” she says.

“Perhaps the greatest thing I took away from my Centre education was not having a scripted profession laid out in front of me,” Fenton continues. “My definition of ‘work’ is evolving all the time, taking me to new and exciting places.”

For those who are jealous of Fenton’s global escapades, she has a ready response.

“When I first embarked to India, a number of my friends said, ‘I wish I could do what you are doing.’ I continue to point out to them that they, too, can be poor and nomadic,” Fenton quips. “It’s quite an adventure.”

As for what comes next, Fenton is keeping her options open.

“I have no idea where I am headed from here. I’m entertaining the idea of learning to be a ski instructor. I might go back to India to work in the spring. I might head to graduate school for a degree in international development,” she says. “The possibilities are somewhat limitless.”